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What is dental phobia?
A fear or anxiety associated with visiting a dentist is often referred to as dental phobia. Dental phobia is often the reason people avoid regular check-ups with a dentist. This naturally has serious consequences for the state of oral health and general well-being for many people.
Neglecting your oral health can have numerous unfavorable effects. One of these could be chronically infected gums which can seriously compromise your ability to chew and digest. You may even lose teeth. Your speech may then be affected. You may also develop consistent bad breath and an unattractive smile. All these things are likely to create social and psychological barriers in your relationships. It is also well documented that poor oral health can have resounding effects on your general health. It is for this reasons and many more that dental phobia must be addressed.
Are you affected by dental phobia?
The questions below will give you some idea as to whether you suffer from dental phobia. It is advisable to continue reading in the event that you answer yes to any of the questions. You should feel encouraged that there are many ways to combat dental phobia and the success rate in managing dental phobia is significantly high.
* Do you recall a previous visit to the dentist that was unpleasant?
* Are you concerned that you will be embarrassed as a result of remarks the dentist will make due to the state of your oral health?
* Do you avoid your appointment with the dentist due to an uneasy feeling prior to your dental visit?
* Do you feel anxious while in the waiting area of the dental practice?
* Do you have feelings of uneasiness or tension whilst in the dental chair?
* Does the sight of dental instruments invoke unpleasant feelings?
* Do you feel ill or anxiety at the thought of an injection?
* Do objects placed in your mouth during the dental visit make you panic and feel like you can not breathe correctly?
* Do you feel that your dentist is unsympathetic only with you?
Why are you affected by dental phobia?
Dental phobia can come about for many different reasons. Below is a list of those reasons described most often by people. You may be familiar with some of these.
* A previously unpleasant visit to a dental practice. This could be for many reasons including careless remarks made to you by a dentist or hygienist that adversely affected your dental experience.
* You have heard concerning stories from friends and family regarding visits to the dentist.
* You have seen or read sensationalized and frightening depictions in the media of dentists.
* You feel a lack of control in the dental chair that makes the situation uncomfortable.
* You feel very self conscious about the poor state of your teeth and as a result are embarrassed to highlight the fact with dental staff.
* You have a negative feeling at the thought of visiting a dentist due to their use of dental gowns, masks, and latex gloves.
How do you put an end to your dental phobia?
1. Dental fear can be overcome.
Understanding that dental phobia can be overcome is a good beginning. You are not destined to suffer from dental phobia for your entire life. The fear you associate with visiting the dentist can be unlearned. Keep in mind when visiting the dentist that you are not simply a set of teeth but a person. A concerted effort to make use of techniques discussed below can put your fear to rest.
2. A suitable dentist.
It is essential to have a dentist and staff that are suitable. Your visit to the dentist can be pleasant with a dentist who is sympathetic towards your dental phobia. Dentists genuinely concerned about your welfare will listen carefully to your needs and proceed accordingly. You should not hesitate to seek out an alternative dentist in the event that this is not the case.
3. Be honest with your dentist.
There are many treatment options that people do not know about. Several of these could assist you greatly. Try to put aside any embarrassment you feel for the current state of your oral health. Your dentist will be able to help you to a greater degree if you communicate openly and honestly about your concerns.
4. Good communication.
Effective communication between you and your dentist can go a long way to making you feel comfortable. You could eliminate the fear of the unknown by communicating to your dentist such pieces of information as lengths of appointments that you can tolerate. Establishing a signaling system to indicate the need for a break or some other message can also give you confidence. Raising a hand while in the dental chair is a commonly used hand signal.
Obtaining knowledge about prospective dental procedures can put to rest any anxiety. Information regarding dental procedures is readily available in brochures in the practice, books and the internet. Any remaining questions can be answered by your dentist. Your dentist is well aware of the seriousness of dental phobia. So do not hesitate to take part in decisions relating to your treatment plan.
6. Relaxation techniques.
Learning to relax when visiting the dentist is imperative. Various physical relaxation techniques can put your mind at ease. It may do you some good to look into books on diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or yoga.
7. Distraction techniques.
Distraction techniques can assist you to make dental visits more tolerable. One common method used for distraction is to listen to music while your dentist works. Some dental practices keep on hand Walkmans or Discmans. Keep in mind not to hinder your communication when making use of distraction techniques.
8. Predictable pain control.
Local anesthetics can be utilized to prevent pain. Some people though require more customized techniques in order to attain proper local anesthesia. It is therefore important that your dentist be made aware of your situation.
Nitrous oxide, otherwise known as 'laughing gas', can relieve pain. Several oral medications can also assist you with dental phobia. Medication such as valium can make you feel considerably relaxed throughout any dental procedure.
A discussion with your dentist could help you to identify a suitable option.
If you are interested in dental phobia then simply consult your dentist for more information.